Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! I mentioned in a previous post that not much cooking would be going on at Abelhaus over the holidays, but I spoke too soon. The majority of the main dishes are covered, but my mother has assigned each of us a side dish. I leave the potato cooking to M, whose German heritage imparts an ingrained expertise of potato cookery. So what does that leave? My Slow Cooker Bourbon Cranberry Sauce.
One of the biggest problems with Thanksgiving, in my opinion, is the frantic last minute surge at the stove. During the first part of the cooking, it’s relatively easy going. You have a cup of coffee while prepping the turkey and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. By lunchtime, you might even pour yourself a glass of wine to tide you over while you prepare the rest of the side dishes. But then when there’s just an hour left to the day’s cooking, things start to go haywire. Your aunt needs the oven to warm up her heat-and-serve rolls. The gravy is bubbling over and getting lumpier by the minute. And horror of horrors is the jellied cranberry sauce, which oozes out of its can with a frightening “sloop.” Um, nope.
My advice? Step away from the stove and make your own homemade cranberry sauce in the slow cooker. You’ll free up prime holiday real estate while making an all-natural and utterly delicious version of classic cranberry sauce.
Slow Cooker Bourbon Cranberry Sauce requires just six ingredients and less than five minutes of work. Fresh cranberries are layered with orange juice, orange zest, dark brown sugar, honey, bourbon and a touch of water and then slow cooked until they melt into a vibrant crimson sauce. Dark brown sugar brings out the caramelized sweetness of the bourbon, while orange adds a floral softness to round out the bite of the cranberries. This version uses slightly less sugar than a traditional recipe, so feel free to adjust the sweetening level to taste.
I love this Slow Cooker Bourbon Cranberry Sauce on its own with turkey, potatoes and all the Thanksgiving favorites. It would also taste delicious layered with vanilla yogurt and granola in a breakfast parfait, stirred into oatmeal, spooned over hot pancakes or baked into muffins or quickbreads.
This is also a perfect recipe to make one to two days ahead. Just refrigerate until ready to serve and freeze if making more than four days ahead. Cranberry sauce can be frozen for up to two months. If you try Slow Cooker Bourbon Cranberry Sauce, be sure to snap a photo and tag it with #lexibites.
- 1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries
- ¾ cup water
- ¼ orange juice (about 1 orange, juiced)
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- Zest of 1 orange (about 2 teaspoons)
- Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and stir to combine.
- Cook on high about 2½ hours. After 2½ hours, remove lid, stir and adjust sweetness with additional sugar or honey. Add additional bourbon if desired. Keep lid off and cook an additional 30 minutes, or until desired consistency is achieved. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled.